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I have an article linked with a very_big.bib file. To cite any reference in the article, I use \citet{reference_key}. However, to get the reference key I need to search very_big.bib file, which is not very time-efficent solution. I know that some TeX editors, like TeXstudio, have code completion option, that gives you a suggestions for the reference keys. But I'm using Latexian editor, which doesn't have this option (although it has neat code completion for other things).

So I'm wondering whether you use other solutions then code completion for fast access to very_big.bib files in order to get your reference key for citation?

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While I use code completion in Kile, the most helpful way to quickly find a citation key is ... to have sensible citation keys. Invent some key scheme and stick to it slavishly, and when you want to cite something, you should have a vague idea what is in this citation (I usually have the paper opened on another desktop), and then I just know what the citation key is. – mafp Dec 10 '12 at 10:34
@mafp sure, I use Mendeley to automatically generate bib files, which makes citation key from first author's surname and date. It's quite efficient system, so usually I'm guessing the paper right. But the issue is more when you got a lot of papers from the same author, or you simply don't remember the name exactly. I guess I might have to dive into other editor that has code completion for the time being... – Geek On Acid Dec 10 '12 at 19:03

The AUCTeX package for emacs and xemacs can be set up with RefTeX to search the .bib files for strings in the entries on C-[ (to create a \cite{...}).

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I ended up paying for Texpad, but it was worth it. If you are a TeX novice,Texpad is probably the best for citation auto-completion. It got neat interface that not only allow you to auto-complete, but also gives you a preview of article details. That, plus good project management options, nice preview interface, neat debugging.

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